Michigan 4-H can help build an entrepreneurship education program

Michigan 4-H offers curriculum and staff to assist educators in creating an entrepreneurship education program.

While Challenges when starting a youth entrepreneurship education program in your community explored some of the background information that validates the importance of entrepreneurship education, this article will discuss youth entrepreneurship education programs and resources available through and suggested by Michigan State University Extension and 4-H.

The Aspen Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group indicates that preparing youth for this new job market will require an assortment of different solutions that better engage young people in their education, while also building stronger connections between communities, businesses and schools. Youth entrepreneurship education programs can provide these skills by providing real world experiences. In addition, MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H youth programs can facilitate the connections.

In their Action Guide for Policy Makers, the Aspen Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group establishes their belief that expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship education resources needs to be a critical part of the solution. They state, “an entrepreneurial mindset — a critical mix of success-oriented attitudes of initiative, intelligent risk-taking, collaboration, and opportunity recognition — is the missing ingredient.”

The group has also stated that youth entrepreneurship education programs are in place in some communities, but most American youth have little or no access to such training. However, the climate for youth entrepreneurship education is changing. The 2012 Gallup-HOPE Index found the majority of students (59 percent) agree their school offers classes in how to start and run a business. This is up from 2011 in which half indicated their school offers such classes.

Policymakers and communities can continue to remedy this situation by making a major commitment to expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship education programs. These programs have a proven track record of keeping children in school and providing them with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to start their own ventures. As a result innovative entrepreneurs, managers and employees are created.

The Michigan 4-H Youth Development page for Entrepreneurship is a great way to explore the resources offered to begin implementing a youth entrepreneurship education program.  Some of these include Be The “E” and the Going Solo Virtual Entrepreneurship Curriculum. The new national career exploration curriculum, Build Your Future: choices…connections…careers…, also has a unit on entrepreneurship as a career choice.  This site also provides direct links to other great youth entrepreneurship education resources and partner programs like Generation E.

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